Language proposal policy/New policy

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This page outlines the policy that governs proposals to open new language subdomains of existing projects, as defined by the language committee.
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Please review the full text of this page before submitting a proposal.

The language committee processes requests in accordance with the application procedure and prior experience with requests and projects. The committee can skip steps in the procedure if they consider a request to have already met the objectives of those steps. Proposals for projects in a language that already has a well-established project may be fast-tracked in this way.

Application procedure[edit]


The following requirements must be met by requests before they can be approved; although they can be met at any time before or after a request, we recommend fulfilling the basic requirements before making a request. If you need any help or have questions, please ask a committee member.

  • Requisites for eligibility
    1. The proposal is to open a new language edition of an existing Wikimedia project that does not already exist (see the complete list of Wikimedia projects or the SiteMatrix).
    2. The language must have a valid ISO-639 1–3 code (search).
      If there is no valid ISO-639 code, you must obtain one. The Wikimedia Foundation does not seek to develop new linguistic entities; there must be an extensive body of works in that language. The information that distinguishes this language from another must be sufficient to convince standards organizations to create an ISO-639 code.
    3. The language must be sufficiently unique that it could not coexist on a more general wiki. In most cases, this excludes regional dialects and different written forms of the same language.
      The degree of difference required is considered on a case-by-case basis. The committee does not consider political differences, since the Wikimedia Foundation's goal is to give every single person free, unbiased access to the sum of all human knowledge, rather than information from the viewpoint of individual political communities.
      If community expresses wish to have one project written in "macrolanguage" (definition), Language committee will consider it on case-by-case-basis.
    4. The proposal has a sufficient number of living native speakers to form a viable community and audience. (Wikisource wikis are allowed in languages with no native speakers, although these should be on a wiki for the modern form of the language if possible.)
      If the proposal is for an artificial language such as Esperanto, it must have a reasonable degree of recognition as determined by discussion (this requirement is being discussed by the language committee).
  • Requisites for final approval
    1. There is an active test project on the Multilingual Wikisource (Wikisource only), Beta Wikiversity (Wikiversity only), or the Incubator (all other projects).
      A project must start on one of these wikis. This will demonstrate that there is sufficient community to build the project. If there is no valid ISO 639 1–3 code, the test project will provide some of the material to present to the World Language Documentation Center.
    2. The MediaWiki interface is available in that language (see localization guide and requirements).
      Localisation statistics are available which describe the current availability of translations for the MediaWiki interface into different languages. The group statistics at have more detailed information.

Initial proposal[edit]

  1. Read the above requirements. Requests that do not conform to the policy will be rejected.
  2. Register an account or log in on this wiki.
  3. Go to a page with the name "Requests for new languages/Project Language name", where the language name is English if it exists (for example, "Requests for new languages/Wikipedia French").
  4. Create the page with the following template:
    ==French Wikipedia==
    {{New language proposal
     |language  = [[w:French language|French]] (''français'', fr ISO 639-2)
     |links     = [[incubator:Wp/fr|development wiki project]]
     |external  = [ International Francophonie]
    Replace this line with your opening argument in favour of the new project.
    ===Arguments in favour===
    ===Arguments against===
    ===Other discussion===
  5. Provide the following information (change the example above):
    • language
      • The English language name; if an article about the language exists on the English Wikipedia, link the name to that page.
      • The native language name in italics, if different from its English name.
      • A valid ISO 639 code. You can often find this code in Wikipedia's article on the language, or by searching ISO639DB.
    • Relevant pages and external links.
  6. On Requests for new languages, add "{{subst:ls-newrow|Project Language name}}" (for example, "{{subst:ls-newrow|Wikipedia French}}") under "Open". "Project Language name" must match the name of the page you just created; if it adds a red link, check that you spelled it correctly.


Users are encouraged to discuss whether it is a good idea to open the new language. However, this is not a vote. The project will be assessed on its linguistic merits and chances of flourishing. Even if there is strong support, the proposal may be denied if there are strong arguments against its creation and insufficiently strong arguments in support as judged by the language committee.


If the language is suitable for a project but requirements still need to be met, the language committee will verify the language as "eligible". The conditions for final approval will be listed on the status page linked from the header.

The users should begin writing a test project on the Incubator wiki now, if they haven't already. At least five active users must edit that language regularly before a test project will be considered successful. You are encouraged to search for interested contributors yourself, as this may speed up the process considerably. Note that a project may be closed if there is little or no activity after it is created.

Final approval[edit]

If all requirements have been met and a detailed investigation finds no unresolved problems, the language committee will notify the Board of Trustees of pending approval. If the board does not veto the decision within at least four days, the request will be approved and developers will be asked to create the wiki.

The number of users that support or oppose the project is irrelevant. When the wiki is approved by the board and opened, the header comment will be updated to reflect this.

Users are strongly encouraged to continue developing the test project while they are waiting for the wiki to be opened. This may accelerate the process. For Wikipedia proposals, the list of articles every Wikipedia should have may be useful. All pages developed as part of a test wiki will be transferred to the actual wiki when it is opened.

Frequently asked questions[edit]


  • Can there be wikis in ancient or historical languages?
    Only Wikisource wikis in ancient or historical languages are accepted, because there are no living native communities to use other resources. Where possible, such languages should be bundled with the modern equivalent (such as Old English with English), though that is not required.
  • Can there be wikis in "simple" languages?
    Yes, in principle. But two special criteria would need to be met: the language should be a "world language" with many L2 users, and there must be a reliable, published specification of the controlled language to be used. Examples are Basic English and Français fondamental. (In reality it does not appear that there are many controlled languages other than English and French.)
  • How many speakers are necessary?
    There should be enough speakers to form a viable community and audience. Whether a particular language qualifies depends on discussion.

Test project[edit]

See also[edit]